Belles Battle in Hard-fought Loss to Warriors
- Kelsey Ronan put up a career-high 23 points on a 10-of-16 (62.5 percent) shooting performance while collecting four rebounds and a pair of blocked shots.
- Gabby Diamond had her sixth double-double of the season with 10 points and a game-high 14 rebounds.
- Erin Maloney added eight points, eight assists, four steals, and a blocked shot.
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - The Saint Mary's basketball team held their own in a physical match up against NAIA Rochester College but came up short in a 67-54 final on Saturday.
The two sides came out ready to compete as the Belles took a 6-5 lead three minutes into the contest with a put-back jumper by Kelsey Ronan. The Warriors responded with a 9-0 run for a 14-6 advantage, but Saint Mary's fought right back with five consecutive points to make it a 14-11 game with under a minute left on the clock. Rochester worked the clock on their next possession before getting a layup with 38 seconds to go. Erin Maloney, however, made the most of an extended possession for the Belles with a layup in the final ten seconds of the period to push the score to 16-13 through one quarter.
Megan Will opened up the scoring in the second quarter with an offensive board and a put-back, and Gabby Diamond hit a jump shot to give Saint Mary's a 17-16 lead with 7:50 on the clock. A little more than a minute later, Ronan sunk a jumper in the paint for a 19-18 Saint Mary's advantage. Diamond then hit a fastbreak layup to give the Belles a 21-18 advantage. Saint Mary's again had a three-point lead at 23-20, but six consecutive buckets by the Warriors shifted the lead back to the visitors by a 32-23 margin. The Belles responded with a big run of their own over the final two minutes of the quarter. Delaney Rohlman drained a three-pointer from the left corner, and Diamond added another fastbreak layup to make it a 32-28 game with 1:26 on the clock. Caroline Macius added a layup on the Belles' next possession, and Erin Maloney hit a free throw with five seconds on the clock to make it a 32-31 deficit for Saint Mary's going into the halftime break.
Will then kicked off the third quarter with a three-pointer to give the lead back to the Belles at 34-32. The teams traded buckets over the next three minutes of play as Kelsey Ronan had five consecutive points - including a three-pointer from the top of the key - to keep the game tight. Rochester posted a pair of five-point leads at 44-39 and 46-41, but the Belles continued to find an answer and compete. Five straight points by Maloney made it a 48-46 game with under two minutes remaining in the quarter, and Ronan knotted to score at 48-48 with 26 seconds left on the clock. Rochester found a late bucket on the next possession to take a 50-48 lead into the final stanza.
The Belles had trouble getting the offense to click in the early going of the fourth period, but Saint Mary's held the Warriors to one point over the opening three-plus minutes of the quarter. A free throw by Ronan after a technical foul against the Warriors made it a 51-49 game, but Rochester came back with six consecutive points to gain a 57-49 advantage. Ronan added another free throw with under five minutes on the clock after another technical foul was assessed, and the senior added a mid-range jump shot on the extended possession to re-energize the Saint Mary's side and cut the deficit to five (57-52). Ally Steve then connected on a long-range jump shot from just inside the arc to make it a 57-54 game with 3:38 to play. Two quick layups by the Warriors, however, cut swayed the momentum back in favor of Rochester while giving the visitors a 61-54 lead with under three minutes left on the clock. Rochester ended up closing out the win with a 10-0 run over the final 3:19 for the 67-54 final score.
The Belles outscored the Warriors 16-10 in points off of turnovers and 15-10 in second-chance points while pulling down 14 offensive boards to Rochester's 12. The Warriors out-rebounded the Belles 41-36 and hit five more shots from the floor. The lead changed hands nine times while the score was tied twice.
Kelsey Ronan put up a career-high 23 points on a 10-of-16 (62.5 percent) shooting performance while collecting four rebounds and a pair of blocked shots. Gabby Diamond had her sixth double-double of the season with 10 points and a game-high 14 rebounds. Erin Maloney added eight points, eight assists, four steals, and a blocked shot.
The Belles (2-21) return to conference play on Wednesday when they travel to Hope for a 6:00 p.m. contest.